Every circumstance in your life is for your healing and growth, under God’s sovereignty.
I realize that statement could cause some rolled eyes and exasperation. I would not consider myself qualified to make it if my life did not verify it. But as a cult survivor, a divorcee, a single mom, and a woman who doesn’t get enough chocolate, I assure you it’s true.
This is not a gripe session. I dislike whining, and I steer clear of what I call “sob story contests.” I love this quote by Elizabeth Prentiss: “People make too much parade of their troubles. We are all born to tribulation and to innumerable joys. There’s no sense in being too depressed or too elated by either.”
Anyway, the other morning I was trying to get myself into “servant mode.” I gradually realized that my expectations of myself were a bit ridiculous. No one can be all and do all for everyone; but sometimes we moms try. Sadly, the message out there reinforces our efforts. We may even sense that people expect the world of us.
God is not like that. Our circumstances are not the assignment of a harsh taskmaster who will condemn us if we don’t get through them “right.” Far from it. He has designed our situation for us. He’s all about our growth and healing. His motive is always love.
God’s sovereignty is a peculiar thing. We’ve all seen terrible things happen to the best of people. God does not always prevent this. Instead, He transforms the arrows of affliction in midflight. When they hit us we suffer – and emerge to discover our healing and freedom.
Let’s face it – we live in a broken world. This process happens to most people more than once. Peter advises us, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” (1 Peter 4:1) We are warned many times in Scripture to expect suffering. It’s part of the program.
We’ve all read the bumper sticker: “Pain is inevitable. Growth is optional.” To receive God’s healing, to mature in our faith, we will want to stay with Him through the trials. Pilots, when flying through a storm, may see only clouds. They must rely completely on their instruments. If you’re flying through a storm, keep following the instruments. Go through your trial with Jesus. Read your Bible, pray, and attend church. Follow the Bible’s instructions – don’t believe the lie that sin will bring relief. That “answer” only compounds the problems.
It’s all about surrender, brokenness, the end-of-the-rope admission that we need the Saviour. At that point, it’s out of our hands, which is where God can do His deepest work.
If life seems overwhelming, God’s looking for surrender. We learn to lean on Jesus. “Save me O God, for the waters have threatened my life.” (Psalm 69:1)
If life seems unfair, God invites us to a decision to love. This produces maturity and eliminates the petty covetousness that can sour our days.
If life seems uncertain, God’s looking for trust. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15)
If life seems too hard, God calls us to intimacy with Himself. Richard Wurmbrand was a Romanian pastor who spent 14 years imprisoned and tortured by communists. He wrote, “I did not mind communism; I did not even notice it. I was in the embraces of the heavenly Bridegroom.”
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28.